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50th Anniversary of the assassination of Frank Pais García in Santiago de Cuba

It seems like the unlucky one is me. I split up of Navarrete and the police is already here after me...,» says the young man unable to feel afraid or impatient due to the certainty of the fact.

Death moves forward from the nearby corner of San German and Gallo. Two blocks away from the room he is staying in, combined forces of the Military Intelligence Services (SIM), the Army, the National Police and the Navy get together in a spectacular deployment headed by the despicable Jose Maria Salas Cañizares.

Watch out, lady!,» the abominable henchman had blurt out to an elderly woman, minutes before, when the patrol where he travelled stopped in front of the house No. 173 of San German.

The overbearing military chief had ordered the search of all even houses in the San German street, from the Gallo corner on.

The last images of the hero still pass in front of the eyes of Brigade General Demetrio Montseny Villa as painful bursts. At that time, he was the head of Action and Sabotage of the July 26 Movement in Guantanamo.

Demetrio Montseny Villa told journalist Rafael Carela that as of 2:30 pm. of that Tuesday, July 30, 1957, as previously agreed by telephone, he and the National Chief of the July 26 Movement Frank Pais were to discuss the details for the clandestine buying ammunitions and other military supplies in the Guantanamo base.

He had seen happiness fluttering around the face of the young man. «I knew that you were not going to fail me, but we need to obtain more weapons and ammunitions...,» Frank Pais had told him, while showing him a letter from Fidel Castro where he talked about the difficult situation they were going through with supplies in the Sierra Maestra.

He also said that some days before that the young revolutionary, along with Agustin Navarrete, had miraculously escaped from a police trap. Frank Pais could see Salas Cañizares leading the search from the windows.

Frank Pais himself told him this, without ever imagining that the execrable henchman was close again. Salas Cañizares had been named military chief of the Santiagos square, having as reference his terrible methods, the same that won him the name of "the Massacre" among the people.

Brutality and hatred were walking in search of house No. 204, where the meeting between these leaders was taking place, but the hero remained unperturbed. He assumed it as one more test imposed by the routine of clandestine struggle; and even though he used the usual methods, as hiding Fidels letter between two wallboards, as it was his habit, he remained silent and serene.

However, the owner of the house was a bag of nerves when she leaned from the window to inform us about the search.

Raul Pujols arrived almost in a rush by the Corona Street. He came in stabbed by the secret and responsibility of having the chief at home. Pujols was coming from the Boix hardware store, where he worked, and where he was warned by Bessy, a neighbour who was a militant of his cell.

Why dont we all leave in the car?, Villa proposed him. The answer of the head of the clandestine struggle was the portrait of the calm and meditation, "This has happened other times... "he said and moved toward the phone.

"Well, OK, no problem ", are the words of the chief interrupting Monica (Vilma Espin), who from the other side of the phone tells him about the fulfilment of a task.

The revolutionaries discuss the young man refusal to accompany them. The Chief, the only person with a gun, gives instructions to Pujols of seeing off the combatants from Guantanamo as if they were relatives and going back to the hardware store.

«The Movement gave me the responsibility of keeping you here, and if something happens, I will die with you...,» is Raul Pujols energetic answer.

Villa insists again on his proposal of the chief leaving with them. «Three men together will make the exit even more suspicious,» "says the chief in his attempt not to jeopardize his partners lives, and repeats the order to leave.

The steps of the soldiers and the murmur of people could already be heard. «Come with us,» repeats Montseny Villa again. «No, it is easiest that I leave on foot. Do what I say, go» "and the chiefs position is now categorical. He puts on it all his experience in the clandestine struggle and all the rigor and tenderness of his character.

Demetrio Montseny Villa and Jose de la Nuez (Basilio) leave with a burning preoccupation in their stomachs. «Go peacefully, my life responds for him...,» were Raul Pujols last words to Villa.

That same decision accompanied him when some minutes later he went out of his house along with the student leader. And he would have protected the chief, if it were not by the denunciation of a former student of the Escuela Normal para Maestros de Oriente (Eastern school for primary teachers), who informed Salas Cañizares in a random passers check-up that that was Frank Pais Garcia, the head of the clandestine struggle, the most wanted man by the tyranny.

Exactly at 4:15 pm., a burst of gunfire "22 shots" hit the body of the oldest of the Pais Garcia. Then, another shot behind his ear. Next to him, the blood of Raul Pujols, sublime symbol of loyalty, also dyed in red the narrow ground of the Wall Alley.


Frank Pais Garcia was born in Santiago de Cuba on December 7, 1934, in the humble home of Reverend Francisco Pais and Rosario Garcia.

Frank was only five years-old when his father died. Since then, the three men of the family would be raised rocked by austerity and love, and their mothers demand and sensibility.

The life or death decision he made on that July 30 was full of all the responsibility and respect learned by him as he was raised in his modest but warm home.

«He was the cleanest and more capable of all our combatants "would say his partner in the struggle Armando Hart, paraphrasing Fidels words". He had a morality and purity as few possess. At the same time he had an opened and sincere leader vocation. That who speaks twice with him knew that he had been born to lead. And he led with a Spartan morality and a noble spirit of justice...»

But above all his incredible qualities as organizer and leader, his speed of reflexes, which made him escape countless times from death, his tested integrity was a spiritual and simple man, preoccupied for every detail; the tenderness of a young man who sang, played the piano, painted and wrote verses.

He never saw himself as a hero, but his short existence was the best expression of his simple and multifaceted personality, which made him transcend, placing him at the height of all times.

«I had just arrived from a trip and was so tired that I went to lie down. Nearly 5:30 pm., I was waken up by an intense burst of gunfire...,» would say a friend from the school for primary teachers, talking about the event on July 26, 1953, which moved him deeply and changed his life.


«You leave me alone/ moaning about my deaf sorrows/ crying out your eternal absence.» Only after remaining in silence for a long time, and giving the necessary indications, those which did not let him succumb to a personal feeling that could jeopardize the Movements tasks, he gave free rein to the pain for the death of his youngest brother Josue.

He spilled his pain into verses, perhaps the best way he learnt of protecting his affections in the hard clandestine struggle.

He was young; he lived every time in the danger, but inside him was always a space for the cleanest feelings.

«You know I cannot forget despite the distance. This is really beautiful, but I sigh for you,» Frank Pais would wrote to his girlfriend America Domitro, in a postcard sent from Xochimilco, Mexico, on August 1956.

And the poetry of this love would accompany him until the last moments. According to Pujols wife, Frank called his girlfriend America at least twice a day from the house of San German No. 204. «Get everything ready for our marriage,» was the subject of his last talks.

Frank Pais, only 22 years-old, was not only the most hated and feared man in the Cuban streets by the tyranny, who leaded the actions in the cities from the sabotage, to agitation, raised pennants, civic resistance, and clandestine press. He was also a young man like everybody else, who loved vanilla ice-cream and cookies, who loved to ponder fish tanks and dream about absent lovers while listening to a song.


Thats why, Santiago de Cuba and all Eastern Cuba paralyzed spontaneously with emotion after that tragic dusk on July 30.

His posthumous work was the general strike caused by his death, wrote Armando Hart in the annexes of his book Aldabonazo (Blow). The shock turned into a general revolutionary strike, during which all sectors of society that were opposed to the regime expressed the disgust of the people.

Frank Pais corpse remained in Mrs. Rosario's house for two hours, after which the July 26th Movement brought it to the house of his girlfriend.

According to a letter written by Vilma Espin on August 13, 1957, tribute was paid to the chief in Heredia and Clarin, «...I ordered them to put on his uniform with the rank of Colonel, the beret and a white rose over it.»

Twenty blocks of people full of anger and pain, followed Frank Pais to his final resting place at the local necropolis. It was a tribute from the people to his simple but full life, that 50 years after his death, has made his example a light and a seed for all time.

Source: By Odalys Riquene, Juventud Rebelde

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